Syria Confronts U.S. on Iraq Meddling Claim

Syria (search) on Monday demanded that the United States produce any evidence that Syria is meddling in Iraq's (search) internal affairs and assisting the insurgency against U.S.-led coalition troops in the country.

The state-owned Tishrin daily said Syria has repeatedly called on U.S. envoys and Iraqi officials to put forth evidence to prove their accusations and said Syria was "still waiting" for proof.

"The U.S. accusations are nil, void and baseless," Tishrin said in the front-page editorial.

Iraqi and U.S. officials, including President George W. Bush (search), have accused Syria of meddling in Iraq's affairs and aiding the insurgency.

Earlier this month, Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan accused Syria and Iran of supporting an al-Qaida-linked group in Iraq and insurgents linked to Saddam Hussein's former security forces. Later, Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Shaalan's comments did not reflect his government's policy.

Syria denies the charges and says it is doing all it can to control its long and porous border.

"Since the Syrian-Iraqi borders are supervised by the Americans using the most sophisticated equipment ... why don't they arrest the 'thousands of alleged infiltrators"'? Tishrin asked.

The daily said Syria supports Iraq's unity and would not be dragged into answering such "irresponsible statements."